Lutheran Bible Translators has remained a trusted organization in Bible translation ministry for nearly 60 years. The Lord has sent Lutheran Bible Translators to the least-served language communities on the globe. This happens because of faithful prayer, encouragement, and gifts and also because of the collective support of those who have come before us.
The focus remains constant—putting God’s Word in the hands of people in their own language. The historical strategy for Bible translation has always been based on sending people to aid in translation. Missionaries are recruited, trained, and sent to serve in intercultural ministry. Often one missionary serves with one language community from start to finish, sometimes for 20 years. Putting God’s Word directly in the hands of the people is an important part of Bible translation ministry. In some contexts, it offers the best chance of success in this generation. The need for western missionaries to go and serve is still great!
But approaches to Bible translation as mission have shifted over the decades. Partner churches and foreign Bible societies also put mission strategy into action. Lutheran Bible Translators partners with them through a grant system, not directly managed by a missionary. Rather, the missionary coordinates and advises programs for multiple language communities and initial skill-building.
The Lord has blessed these partnerships and led us to new ones. In 2020, expenses for programs will exceed missionary-based expenses.
New ways of serving in mission create new ways to support Lutheran Bible Translators. Directly funding a missionary family is always valued but supporters can pray, encourage, and sponsor these new partnership programs as well.
An expanding vision
Those who first gathered in the 1960’s to imagine the vision of Lutheran Bible Translators could not have seen where that vision would lead. Yet they stepped forward in faith and trusted God to guide them. The year 2020 marks 56 years of service for Lutheran Bible Translators. The vision is undertaken by different people and carried out in a different way. But the goal is still the same—God’s Word for every language.
We walk with faith beyond sight, not knowing how the Lord will provide what we need to meet all the potential opportunities. We don’t know how requests to expand our programs in Tanzania, Madagascar, and Southeast Asia will be fulfilled. What we know is that this is still His mission. Our role is to keep serving together to put God’s Word in their hands.